A former reality show cast-member and hip-hop journalist kick-started his congressional campaign this week, saying 13-term incumbent Rep. Ed Towns “has completely ignored” his constituents.
A youthful crowd of about 150 paid $25 each to attend a May 19 fundraiser that netted about $10,000 for the 43-year-old Kevin Powell’s second race against Towns, 73.
In a speech that was sometimes fiery, sometimes condescending, Powell trashed Towns (D–Fort Greene) as a permanent back-bencher.
“He’s been in office for 26 years — the second longest tenure of New York City congress people…yet [he doesn’t] chair a single committee,” Powell told his supporters at the Canal Room in Manhattan. “So seniority has gone out the window.”
Powell also called out his rival for missing nearly 1,000 votes since 1993 — triple the congressional average — for accepting donations from tobacco companies, and for not strongly opposing the Iraq war.
A spokeswoman for Towns said the longtime congressman would not answer back.
Powell’s camp says the campaign has raised between $50,000 and $60,000, with an end goal of raising between $350,000 and $400,000.
Towns has already raised $710,444 — and has already spent more than $500,000. In 2006, he stumbled to victory with just 47 percent of the vote in a three-way race — and in the past has said that he won’t take an opponent lightly again, as he did Councilman Charles Barron (D–Canarsie) and then-Assemblyman Roger Green (D–Fort Greene).
Powell, who first entered public life in the early 1990s when he was a cast-member of MTV’s first edition of “The Real World,” says money isn’t the most important factor in winning the race.
“It’s not about trying to match the $1 million that Mr. Towns will be able to shake from his circles,” Powell said. “In 2006, Charles Barron only had about $160,000, and look what he did.”